As Aisle goes through a transformation, Suzanne Siemens, speaks to the importance of having open dialogue between a businesses and their customers.
For Suzanne Siemens, CEO of Vancouver-based period-wear brand Lunapads, recently rebranded as Aisle, the name of the game has always been evolution inspired by respect.
The brand, which was founded in 1993 by Madeleine Shaw, has always had customers and its impact in mind. Over the years, Aisle has worked to learn from a community that it has cultivated around and within itself, in hopes that customers might have a more positive relationship with their periods, their bodies, and the world.
It is this community, which by definition is constantly evolving as humans do, that motivates the brand’s current evolution into Aisle.
Siemens notes that much has changed over the years. Understanding around what it means to have a period, to be sustainable and transparent in terms of how products are made, has grown. The desire to keep up with these changes has informed Aisle’s rebrand, and this is something that can be seen in the new name.
“Aisle is a place,” Siemens says. “It’s a place where people who have periods can have the most sustainable, inclusive and high-performing products that they can find to meet their needs for their period, wherever they are in their life.” To this end, one can go to the revamped “period aisle” website not just for reusable cloth pads, underwear, and menstrual cups, but also for access to information and articles about periods and about the brand’s humanitarian efforts.
Aisle is a feminist business, has been since inception — principles of environmental and social sustainability, inclusion, and of intersectionality are infused into the brand, Siemens says.
It’s a desire to stay true to these values, while allowing for growth and change, that Siemens says has been key. “De-feminizing menstruation is to me about dignity and understanding that not all people fall on one point in the gender spectrum,” she explains. “For us, it was a recognition that to be truly inclusive and to help people feel like they are seen and heard, we needed to present to them products that they felt seen in,” Siemens says.
This rebrand signifies that Aisle is listening to its customers.
“In doing so, the reception that we got was, thank you, thank you for seeing us,” she says. “[They said] thank you for providing products that affirm our identity. […] We feel that that’s just the right direction to move in, and that in doing so, hopefully it sets an example for the rest of society to be more inclusive.”
While Siemens realizes that a single brand won’t change the world order overnight, she also appreciates the importance of work that will help the world and everyone in it. Ultimately it’s about evolution that might lead to revolution.
“People need a job and people need work,” she says. “But if we can shift the model so that it’s not so heavily weighted on profit and driving the top line, but looks at everything and considers the important topic of climate change, for example, and gender equity, that to me is going to make a huge difference in our world going forward.”